Jury deliberating in LoVan trial

WORTHINGTON - The jury began deliberations at approximately 2:40 p.m. today in the trial of Chim LoVan, age 47, of Worthington. LoVan is facing charges of second-degree murder, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, third-degree murder and two counts of first-degree manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Blue Thyboualoy, who died June 19, 2015 after being stabbed in the abdomen with a knife. The weapon was never located.

LoVan has maintained his innocence since his arrest the day after Thyboualoy died. Although 18 people testified on behalf of the state, LoVan did not take the stand on his own behalf. The jury did hear three separate interviews between LoVan and law enforcement officials, in which he said he went over to Thyboualoy's home in the early morning hours June 19 because he was mad after he received a phone call from Thyboualoy. Allegedly, Thyboualoy had called asking for marijuana, and when he was turned down, called LoVan a racial slur.

In the first interview, LoVan says he was angry, yelling and pounding on the door. In later interviews, he states he was calm, barely touched the door and just wanted to talk. In one interview he says he planned to get money and go buy marijuana for Thyboualoy, in another he claims he doesn't do that. From one interview to another, LoVan changed his story about whether or not Thyboualoy owed him money or the amount of money he was owed.

Ryan Chomnarith, who was with Thyboualoy when the alleged assault took place, claims to have witnessed the stabbing. Ethan Duffy, who came to the residence with LoVan, testified that LoVan was angry and said they were there to get money, but claims he never saw a knife. He stated he did see LoVan pounding on the door and getting his arms inside while Thyboualoy and Chomnarith tried to hold the door closed.

Dr. Fernando Escobar testified earlier today Thyboualoy would have likely survived his stab wound if he would have sought medical attention immediately after the wound was inflicted. Instead, Thyboualoy waited until 5 p.m. that evening. He started having arrhythmia just minutes into surgery. A team was called in to resuscitate, Escobar said, and over two hours were spent trying to bring Thyboualoy back to no avail.

According to the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, the knife went through Thyboualoy's stomach and into his pancreas, severing a vein. More than a liter of blood was found inside his body cavity.

During closing arguments, defense attorney Michael Hanson said he had several issues with the case, such as a lack of a weapon, a lack of credibility on Chomnarith's part and the fact that no one called authorities after the stabbing.

Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz said she did not know why Chomnarith said some of the things he did, but told the jury it was their job to determine credibility. She theorized it was possibly a fear of arrest that stopped Thyboualoy and Chomnarith from calling authorities, acknowledging that Thyboualoy had methamphetamine in his system when he died, but stating no one knew when he had ingested the meth. The most compelling piece of evidence came, she said, from Thyboualoy himself, when he told law enforcement officials that he was stabbed by Monkey, a known alias of LoVan.

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